It is said that every individual has a story within him or her, waiting to be told! However, very few people end up becoming writers and authors. That is because one does not know where or how to start. Now, the secret is revealed – in just 3 easy and practical steps.
Writing a book- Well begun is half done
• Little drops of water: For writing a book one does not have to have a torrent of words gushing out. Even writing 250 words a day is sufficient. And one does not have to give up one’s day job to become a writer. Writing 1 page a day either early morning or late at night is good enough.
• Making a mind map: It is important to have the broad outline of the book in your mind. A table of contents broken up into smaller sections. Each section of approximately the same length, this goes a long way in clarifying the writer’s thinking. As we all know, every story (and therefore every book) should have a beginning, a middle and an end. And the rest gets fleshed out more easily if the broad outline is at hand.
• Selecting a special place to write a book: It is best to avoid any humdrum, everyday place for writing, like the kitchen table or the bed. The writing place should be a special place dedicated to writing – once you enter, your mind should go into the writing zone.
• Scheduling time daily for writing your novel: Taking a break from writing is not a no-no. But plan for this in advance so that the deadline set does not pass. Stay committed to the schedule that you have set for yourself.
Remain accountable to yourself
• Breaking down the book into 10,000 word sections: Thinking in terms of ten thousand word sections is a good way to plan the book. This also helps to position the book appropriately. Number of words in a book?
-10,000 words: this is right for an article in a magazine or a leaflet or pamphlet
-20,000 words: good for a short eBook or novella
-40,000–50,000 words: apt nonfiction book
-50,000–60,000 words: normal fiction book or long nonfiction book
-80,000 words–100,000 words: a long novel
• For poetry a smaller word length of 7,000 -25,000
• Seeking feedback during the early stages of the book: Rewriting large sections of the book is a big dampener. It is a good idea to have a set of trusted advisors who can go over what is written and give frank feedback. If the previewer are not moved by the way the book is shaping up, a change in style or content early on may become necessary.
• Set weekly milestones: The milestones can be in terms of words or chapters completed or as a percentage of the book completed. Having deadlines allows the author to pace himself or herself and remain accountable to the schedule of writing the book.
• Putting it out there: The book needs to be completed at any cost. Once the manuscript is ready, it should not be left in the drawer to obsess over latter till it is perfect. Sending it to the publisher, releasing it online or finding other ways to get it out in front of the target readers is critical.
• Being graceful in adversity: Getting it absolutely right the first time is rare. Therefore the author needs to be prepared for failing to meet his or her expectations from the book. And the expectations too must be realistic – perfection in any sphere of human activity is a mirage. Failure should be faced with grace and patience – and one has to learn the right lessons from the first book and come back with the second book.
• Go for another: If successful authors are polled, most of them will say that they are embarrassed by their first book. But writing the first book is the necessary first step in an author’s journey. The first book gives authors an opportunity to live through the process and learn the right lessons from it. The sooner the author launches the first book, the more time he or she has to write the subsequent books and taste success. Practice makes it perfect!
All writers start with the first word. And most of them do it while living their current, everyday lives. What sets them apart is writing with sustained discipline day after day.